Wayne Meisel, the director of the Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Illinois, believes that one of the keys to reinvigorating the church is summer camp. For Meisel, summer camps serve as centers for spiritual formation and can teach congregations a lot about Christian formation:
Summer camps, as much as any other church activity, inspire, seek out, identify, and bring along individuals who can play significant leadership roles in the church. At a time when the church is being criticized for failing to attract and retain strong leadership, it would behoove those who care about the future of the church to think back on where they spent their summers.
This is why ten seminaries and divinity schools have come together to sponsored the New Faces of Ministry Tour where current students and recent graduates to go out to visit summer camps and share their stories and their vision for ministry. Students from different schools are pairing up, renting cars and driving around to visit and present at camps in twenty-one day intervals. Students will do everything from make formal presentations to listening about community work that is already happening to informal conversations. The intent is to help camp counselors connect the important roles they already fill to potential leadership roles in the church. The seminaries and divinity schools that are sponsoring the tour include: The visionary institutions that worked together to create the program include McAfee, Princeton, Wesley, Andover Newton, Earlham, Columbia, Christian Theological Seminary (IN) McCormick, University of Chicago, Luther (MN) , Austin, and Union (NY).
As part of the New Faces of Ministry Tour, students will be researching and identifying exemplary camps to be selected for the upcoming list, Summer Camps that Change the World. Like the lists that have been created for seminaries and service programs, the Center for Faith and Service will be looking to lift up and affirm these important institutions that often go unnoticed but are playing a key role in faith formation and leadership development.
For the full article from Meisel, please visit the Huffington Post religion page.